Pollution and Your Skin

Your skin is perhaps the first thing anyone notices about you. It may be subconscious, but people will form an opinion about you based on how you look. I don’t mean your racial profile, but more importantly, how healthy your skin is. In urban cities, pollution can severely affect the way your skin looks and feels. Subject to a constant bombardment of pollutants including chemicals, toxins, and dust, unless you fight back, your skin can end up paying a hefty price. Wrinkles and pale skin is usually the price you end up paying.

Here is a fascinating fact. Perhaps the best weapon in your arsenal to fight back is the food you eat. Foods such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, mangoes, and papayas, for example, contain something called carotenoids. Eating carotenoids helps your body create a protective shield from the harmful effects of pollutants. Consuming these fruits and vegetables at least three to four times a week is therefore essential. Another concern that we need to worry about is the harmful effects of UV rays from the sun. Exposing yourself to sunlight is essential as it ensures that you get Vitamin D. Beyond a point, the UV rays can be harmful. Including foods rich in carotenes such as spinach, kale and cantaloupe can protect you from harmful UV rays.

Ensuring that your Daily Required Intake or DRI of Vitamin A found in carrots, broccoli, butter, and eggs can help prevent wrinkling of your skin. Similarly, ensuring that you get adequate Vitamin D, found in dairy, cod liver oil and also from exposure to the sun ensures that your skin is supple and youthful. Finally, polyphenols found in green tea, onions, cloves, red wine, celery seeds, flaxseeds and dark chocolate act as anti-aging agents not just for your skin but your entire body. Polyphenols help prevent cancer and oxidative stress. So for all those who think you eat for the taste of the food, here is an alternative vision. You eat high-quality, healthful foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and even the occasional dark chocolate or wine for that stunning look. Did someone just ask you if you are twenty?


Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.